Forget kissing and try hands-only CPR
When many people think of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) they immediately think of the ‘kiss of life’. A mixture of cardiac massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, the kiss of life aims to re-inflate the lungs and restart blood circulation in people suffering from cardiac arrest and has collapsed and stopped breathing.
Until recently the kiss of life has been considered as one of the most important things to know and use when faced with a medical emergency. However, research is beginning to increasingly suggest that the process should not be used as a form of resuscitation.
Earlier this year in January, UK-based heart charity the British Heart Foundation launched a new advertising campaign to actively promote ‘hands-only’ CPR, the first organisation in the UK to do so.
According to scientists chest compressions are the most effective aspect of CPR. The person administering the compressions is essentially acting as the victim’s heartbeat, responsible for keeping blood pumping around their body. By combining cardiac massage with mouth-to-mouth, their concentration and focus on the vital chest compressions is often lost. Studies have also suggested that when carried out by an untrained person, mouth-to-mouth is completely ineffective and has even been dubbed by some as the ‘kiss of death’.
The BHF is therefore promoting a new CPR practice, consisting solely of hard and fast compressions in the centre of the chest. The aim of this campaign is to encourage people to administer the life saving treatment by showing them how simply it can be done.
The charity was inspired to do this after one of its study’s found almost 50 percent of people would be too afraid to help someone in cardiac arrest because of a lack of knowledge of what to do. It was also revealed that a fifth of people said they were put off doing CPR because of the risk of catching an infection from the mouth-to-mouth process and 40 percent said they were afraid they would be help legally responsible should something go wrong. Considering the chance of someone surviving a cardiac arrest without having CPR administered to them, these results are worrying to say the least.
“The kiss of life can often be daunting for untrained bystanders who want to help when someone has collapsed with a cardiac arrest,” said Ellen Mason, the BHF’s Senior Cardiac Nurse. “Hands-only CPR should give lots of people the confidence and know-how to help save someone in cardiac arrest, the ultimate medical emergency.”
To get its message across to the UK masses the BHF portrayed the often unseen softer side of ex-Wales footballer, actor and hard man Vinnie Jones in its television advert. Appearing as one of the characters Jones is most known for – from the film Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels – he performs hands-only CPR on a stranger in front of the camera. In addition to demonstrating to the public how it should be done, the BHF is also advising the pace at which the compressions should be given – to the tempo of disco classic Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees.
Commenting on his role in the advert, Jones said: “There really shouldn’t be any messing about when it comes to CPR. If you’re worried about the kiss of life just forget it and push hard and fast in the centre of the chest to Stayin’ Alive. Hands-only CPR should give have-a-go heroes the confidence to step in and help when somebody is in cardiac arrest.”
Vinnie Jones in the British Heart Foundation’s hands-only CPR advert:
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How healthcare can safeguard itself against cyberthreats
One of the most fundamental lessons from the COVID crisis is that health should always be a priority. In a similar fashion to the human body that frequently fights off viruses and foreign invaders that intend to cause it harm, the sector itself is now a prime target for another type of external threat: cyberattacks.
The figures speak for themselves: between December and January this year, hospitals in the UK were at 89% capacity, with 7,000 fewer available beds than there usually are. As the pandemic increased pressure on hospitals, clinics, and research facilities to create a treatment for patients globally, it has left the sector exposed to hackers who, like a virus, have been targeting it relentlessly and evolving their tactics.
From patient records being held ransom, to fake emails claiming to originate from the UN WHO, the NHS, or vaccine centres, through to attacks on the cold supply chain to find out the secret formula of the COVID vaccine, the healthcare industry is facing constant cyberattacks and struggling to cope. This threat is unlikely to go away anytime soon – and as such, the industry needs to take a proactive, preventative stance to stay safe in a dynamic digital world.
The responsive nature of healthcare – particularly of hospitals – means that efficiency is crucial to the industry’s standard operations. To support this, the sector has been embracing technological advancements that can improve the quality of work, enabling staff to meet pressing deadlines, and enhancing patient care. For example, the industry has been digitising records and improving its ways of working through digital means over the past few years.
This shift is critical to offer high quality patient care; yet, it also means the sector has become more dependent on IT, which can come with a risk if cybersecurity processes employed are deemed as inadequate.
Without the correct security measures in place, the desired efficiency gains realised, can be easily lost in a heartbeat. Simply put, an elementary glitch in the system can have a tremendous ripple effect on many areas, from accessing patient records and conducting scans, to maintaining physical security and protecting the intellectual property of experimental treatment development.
To prevent this, healthcare organisations need to ensure they’re considering cybersecurity as part of their overall digital transformation strategy – and setting the right foundations to create a culture where safety goes hand in hand with patient care.
Before implementing cybersecurity process, healthcare organisations need to assess the potential risks they face. Depending on how much confidential data the trust has, where it is stored, who has access to it and via which means, the cybersecurity strategy and associated solutions will change.
It’s fair to say that a medical device start-up where all employees have a corporate-sanctioned laptop and access data via a VPN will have radically different needs to a large hospital with hundreds of frontline workers connecting to the hospital’s Wi-Fi using their personal device.
These requirements will pale by comparison to a global pharmaceutical giant with offices in multiple locations, a large R&D department researching new treatments for complex diseases and a fully integrated supply chain. Considering the existing setup and what the organisations is looking to achieve with its digital transformation strategy will therefore have an immediate impact on the cybersecurity strategy.
Despite this, there are fundamentals that any organisation should implement:
Review and test your back-up policy to ensure it is thorough and sufficient – By checking that the organisation’s back-up is running smoothly, IT teams can limit any risks of disruption in the midst of an incident and of losing data permanently.
In our recent State of Email Security report, we found that six out of ten organisations have been victims of ransomware in 2020. As a result, afflicted organisations have lost an average of six days to downtime. One third of organisations even admitted that they failed to get their data back, despite paying the ransom. In the healthcare industry, this could mean losing valuable patient records or data related to new treatments – two areas the sector cannot afford to be cavalier about.
Conduct due diligence across the organisation’s supply chain – Healthcare organisations should review their ways of working with partners, providers and regulatory institutions they work with in order to prevent any weak link in their cybersecurity chain. Without this due diligence, organisations leave themselves exposed to the risks of third party-led incidents.
Roll out mandatory cybersecurity awareness training - Healthcare organisations shouldn’t neglect the training and awareness of their entire staff – including frontline workers who may not access the corporate network on a regular basis. According to our State of Email Security report, only one fifth of organisations carry out ongoing cyber awareness training.
This suggests it is not widely considered as a fundamental part of most organisations cyber-resilience strategy, despite the fact many employees rely on their organisation’s corporate network to work. By providing systematic training, healthcare organisations can help workers at all levels better understand the current cyberthreats they face, how they could impact their organisation, the role they play in defending the networks, and develop consistent, good cybersecurity hygiene habits to limit the risks of incidents.
Consider a degree of separation – Information and Operational Technology (IT and OT) networks should be separated.
Although mutually supported and reliance on each other, employees shouldn’t be accessing one via the other. This should be complemented by a considered tried and tested contingency and resiliency plan that allows crucial services to function unabated should there be a compromise. Similarly, admin terminals should not have internet access to afford a degree of hardening and protection for these critical accounts.
As the sector becomes a common target for fraudulent and malicious activity, putting cybersecurity at the core of the organisation’s operations is critical. It will help limit the risks of disruption due to cyberattacks, reduce time spent by the cybersecurity team to resolve easily avoidable errors, and ensure that institutions can deliver patient care, safe in the knowledge that their networks are safe.
Fighting future threats
With technology continuing to change the face of healthcare, the surface area and vectors available for attacks by malicious actors is constantly increasing. With the introduction of apps, networked monitoring devices, and a need for communication, the attack vector is ever expanding, a trend that needs to be monitored and secured against.
To prevent any damage to patients, staff, or the organisation they are responsible for, healthcare leaders must put security front and centre of their digital transformation strategy. Only then can the sector harness the full benefits of technology. Doing this should include implementing cybersecurity awareness training to challenge misconceptions around security, encourage conversation, and to ensure employee knowledge of the security basics and threats faced.
This ultimately allows healthcare organisations to do what they do best: provide the highest standard of patient care, safe in the knowledge that their operations, patients, and data are safe.